black lung

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Syn: anthracosis. An occupational disease of coal miners, this is a variety of pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of coal dust, leading to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, associated with silicosis if the coal is contained in or adjacent to strata of silica-bearing rock, and sometimes complicated by tuberculosis. The chronic cough is accompanied by expectoration of black sputum (coal-dust stained), and at autopsy the lungs are black. It has long been a common cause of chronic disability and premature death among coal miners in many parts of the world, although its ravages have been reduced in recent years by improved working conditions in many mining communities.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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